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Malaga used to be ´an airport´where you hired a car and left as quickly as possible to head for the Costa del Sol or the Costa de la Luz or – for the travellers amongst the tourists - to Ronda and the route of the white villages to take you down to the coast. This beautiful route introduces you to some of the best of Andalusian scenery.

But back to MALAGA ! A lot of money has been invested in recent years and from being a place to pass through on the way to the ´costas´ Malaga is now a really great city to visit and in which to spend at least two days. It is also great for a winter break of a long weekend as quite apart from its historic interest and bars and shops, it has its own good beaches. There are many cheap flights to get there in the winter.

It has a fantastic harbour (yachts and cruise ships) with restaurants and shops along one side and a shady boulevard with museums on the other. It has a good shopping centre, including Zara Home, COS, Mango etc. as well as small boutiques.

In the evening the route via the beautifully lit churches and other monuments is most attractive. This takes you to some of the best tapas bars and restaurants I have visited (and these are many!) in Spain. In early June nowhere is crowded and there is an elegantly sociable atmosphere.

In the evening, I would suggest you follow the blue route on the map you have picked up at the tourist office on the Plaza de la Marina, crossing the Paseo and heading for the Plaza de la Merced. At present there are some five works of Henry Moore on display, they look as if he made them for just this location. My proposed first stop would be to go in to the Premium Hostel opposite the Alcazaba and take the lift to Bar Batik on the roof terrace for a first drink with a lovely view of the old town walls to your left. This is a small terrace but we were there around 8 p.m. so it was not crowded. If you look down to your right you already see all the tables outside at Bodega Bar El Pimpi which is one of the most popular in Malaga, with excellent food I am told. We in fact walked THROUGH this most attractive Bodega to exit on the other side and very nearby was LOS PATIOS DE BEATAS, Vinoteca Museo (very near the Picasso Museum) which was absolutely charming, uncrowded, elegant without being at all ´stuffy´, lovely individually designed tiled round bar tables for two to four – a grand selection of wines and very sophisticated, delicious tapas.

A lovely stroll through the shopping street back to Hotel Sur – ideally located, inexpensive, basic but super-clean, with a garage for €.15 per day, half of what you pay in garages elsewhere. If you do not have a car there is a taxi rank just round the corner – 20 minutes to the airport. (Hotel Sur, Trinidad Grund 13, 29001 Malaga Tel. 952 22 48 03/04/05 :;

The next morning I strolled back to the Plaza de la Marina, crossed over to the boulevard running along the harbour (lovely, somewhat formal gardens) to have my coffee and croissant in a small restaurant diagonally opposite the new museum, Centre Pompidou (a coloured glass building “ El Cubo”, which you cannot fail to notice at the town end of the harbour) which opens at 11 a.m. so I was able to be one of the first in. Spacious, light with a fascinating collection from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, including works by Frida Kahlo, Tàpies, Picasso as well as a number of inter-active projects.

The above are only a few of my personal suggestions. Doubtless next time I shall discover more.

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